China Poblano chef Shirley Chung finds great Asian flavors off the Strip

Photo: Leila Navidi

Executive chef Shirley Chung knows a little something about Asian food. The Beijing native helms José Andrés’ stalwart China Poblano at the Cosmopolitan, where she doles out unique combinations of traditional Chinese and Mexican offerings. Appropriately, here are her recent favorites for off-Strip Asian cuisine.

Asian BBQ & Noodles (3400 S. Jones Blvd., #5C, 202-3636) Chung’s favorite new Asian restaurant is this tiny hole-in-the-wall Chinese joint on the outskirts of Chinatown. “They do their own barbecue,” she says. “Monday is the day to go, because that’s the only day they do suckling pig. It doesn’t need any sauces, and the skin is just crispy and hot. There’s not too much meat on there, but it’s delicious—to die for!” Be sure to get there early: When the piggy is gone, it’s gone for the day.

Ichiza (4355 Spring Mountain Road, #205, 367-3151) For Japanese, Chung recommends a restaurant she says isn’t so dissimilar from hers. “You can see the influence of the Mexican chefs on the Japanese menu. There’s a lot of jalapeños, and some dishes use chipotle; sometimes you even see some weird quesadillas on the menu. It’s just very cool to see a menu grow like that.” Chung also loves the atmosphere. “I never read the menu. Just look along the walls!”

Pho 87 (3620 S. Jones Blvd., 233-8787) Vietnamese? Chung dials No. 87. “Everyone always talks about their eating contest—if you finish their ginormous 16-pound bowl you get a prize or something—but my love is their pho. The owner makes her stock with oxtail, which other restaurants don’t use because it’s expensive. Her soup base is really clean—all you taste is this really beefy flavor.”

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